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TheDarkWoods.ca presents
Top 20 80’s Slasher films

                                By Marlo Tetzlaff



The slasher film genre finds it’s place among many horror movie tropes. Blending a mix of gore and violence with creative and sometimes comical kills, jump scares and merciless stalking. They range from the supernatural, to the psycho killer, to the revenge driven misfit whose awkward psyche is driven to blood-lust. Few escape, and most will die a horrible death.

The eighties in a lot of ways was the beginning of the slasher film era, with Friday the 13th arguably starting it all off. Here are 20 of the 1980’s most notable slasher films, that in my opinion, may encompass most of the aspects of what makes the slasher film great.

Enjoy at your own risk!


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The production company and copyright information on many of these movies is difficult to verify. Some of the films on this list are rare and have a history of being banned in certain countries, or having multiple cuts being released under different distributors. To make it even more difficult to find accurate information, during this time period there were many more small production companies which are no longer around. These days every small production company is a branch of one of the major studios Warner Bros, Fox, Paramount, Universal, Sony, and Disney.




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The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)
Slasher, Horror, Comedy

Directed by Amy Holden Jones

1982 Santa Fe Productions A drill-wielding, escaped metal patient, wreaks havoc on a group of high school girls at a slumber party.

You bring the pizza, I’ll bring the drill.

Rated R





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Superstition (1982)
Horror, Slasher, Cult film, Canadian Horror, Graphic violence,

Directed by James W. Roberson

1982 Carolco Entertainment A witch murdered in a pond 1692 returns to the present day, to exact vengeance on her persecutors descendants, or anyone else in her way.

You should have believed.

Unrated





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Maniac Cop (1988)
Crime, Horror, Thriller, Slasher, Cult

Directed by William Lustig

1988 Shapiro-Glickenhaus Entertainment A vigilante serial killer dressed as a cop murders innocent people on the streets of New York City.

He prefers to kill instead of protect

Rated R





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Motel Hell (1980)
Horror Comedy, Slasher, Cult classic,

Directed by Kevin Connor

1980 Camp Hill Friendly farmer Vincent’s famous sausages have an unusual ingredient, harvested from his nearby hotel. This is a cult classic horror comedy and even includes a fun country song called "You're Eating out my Heart and Soul". Don't take it too seriously. And don't watch it around childen or the elderly.

“It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent fritters.”

Rated R

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Roger Ebert actually liked Motel Hell, and he said These moments illuminate the movie's basic and not very profound insight, which is that most of the sleazoids would be a lot more fun if they didn't take themselves with such gruesome solemnity. He gave it 3 stars out of 5.





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The House by the Cemetery (1981)
Slasher, Italian horror

Directed by Lucio Fulci

1981 Fulvia Film A family moves into an old mansion in New England, only to discover a horrible secret hiding in the basement.

Past and present collide in a vortex of fear.

Unrated

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Check out the great Italian artwork for the film. Here is the Italian poster art and the American poster art.

Italian horror or Giallo films are known for themes of madness, sexuality and paranoia. There are female characters that witness a gruesome crime and then have to explain it to the authority figures. The Giallo slashers are not often 'fun' as Hollywood slashers are, and they are more sinister and can be extreme and not for the weak of heart.





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Prom Night (1980)
Horror, Thriller, Slasher, Revenge,

Directed by Paul Lynch

1980 AVCO Embassy Pictures At their senior prom, an unknown killer takes revenge on four teenagers responsible for the death of a little girl six years earlier.

If you’re not back by midnight… You won’t be coming home.

Rated R

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Vincent Canby of The New York Times had this to say in 1980: Prom Night, the Canadian film that opened yesterday at the Loews State 2 and other theaters, is a comparatively genteel hybrid, part shock melodrama, like Halloween, and part mystery, though it's less a whodunit than a who's-doing-it.

There was a bad remake of Prom Night released in 2008.





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Alone in the Dark (1982)
Horror, Slasher, Thriller, Psycho-killers

Directed by Jack Sholder

1982 Masada Productions

New Line Cinema (now Warner Bros.)

During a blackout, four murderous psychopaths break out of a mental hospital and go to the house of one of their psychiatrists.

When the lights go out, the terror begins.

Rated R

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Not to be confused with the bad video game Uwe Boll movie of the same name released in 2005. Check out some amusing screencaps from this movie. Wait for it... and Boing.





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Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
Slasher, Horror, Supernatural, Thriller.

Directed by Steve Miner

1981 Georgetown Productions

Paramount Pictures

Two months after Mrs. Vorhees is killed and Camp Crystal Lake is shut down, the next camp over is stalked by an unknown assailant.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to camp.

Rated R

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Paramount had to snip off 48 seconds of violence and gore from the movie in order to avoid an X rating. Critics initially hated this film, but now it is regarded as a slasher classic by fans. Here's one of the reasons why these movies were popular in the 80's.





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My Bloody Valentine (1981)
Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Slasher, Canuxploitation

Directed by George Mihalka

1981 Canadian Film Development Corporation

Paramount Pictures

Partying Valentine’s day teens, lose their hearts to a deranged killer in this classic Canadian slasher.

This Valentine’s Day, romance is DEAD

Rated R

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One of the most popular Canuxploitation slashers of the 1980's. There was a decent remake of this movie released in 2009 but I still think that the original one is better.





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April Fools (1986)
Slasher, Gore, Horror

Directed by Fred Walton

Paramount Pictures College students staying at a remote island mansion, become victims of an unseen murderer over the April Fool's Day weekend.

Guess who’s going to be the life of the party

Rated R

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Good luck finding this movie as it has been out of print for a long time. The copy that I have is a double feature with My Bloody Valentine. You can however stream it on Google Play Videos and Amazon if you are in the US.





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Pumpkinhead (1988)
Horror, Supernatural, Slasher

Directed by Stan Winston

1988 Paramount Pictures After a tragic accident, a father conjures up the aid of a vengeful demon to destroy the group of teenagers he feels is responsible for his son’s death.

For each of man’s evils, a special demon exists.

Rated R

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Great practical special effects, my favorite of the boogeymen slashers. Even though Pumpkinhead had a limited release and only grossed about $4,300,000 total at the US box office, this is a cult classic horror film.





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Child's Play (1988)
Slasher, Horror, Supernatural

Directed by Tom Holland

1988 MGM

Universal (purchased in 1990)

A voodoo curse transfers the soul of a serial killer into a child’s doll, and when a single mother gives the doll to her son, the murders begin.

“This doll is killer.”

Rated R





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The Burning (1981)
Slasher, Horror, Supernatural

Directed by Tony Maylam

1981 Miramax Former summer camp caretaker Cropsy, is horribly burned in a botched prank, then goes on a wilderness killing spree, gorily dispatching the teenagers responsible for his disfigurement.

A brutal horrific act made him kill and kill and kill.

Rated R

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Epic huge scissor killing scenes. When it was released in 1981 the British version was heavily censored and still got an X rating. Distributor Thorn-EMI accidentally briefly released an uncut version on VHS. The uncut version was not released until 2002. The uncut version remains extremely rare and valuable.





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Maniac (1980)
Slasher, Horror, Supernatural

Directed by William Lustig

1980 Magnum Motion Pictures Inc A troubled New York City psychopath who kills women and scalps them for his mannequins, turns his affections on a young photographer.

I warned you not to go out tonight.

Rated. Banned in the UK

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Legendary cult status Tom Savini shotgun head explosion. Film critic Gene Siskel was not a fan, and he walked out after this part. You're not going to be laughing and cheering along as usual when the victims get killed in Maniac, it's truly a very disturbing movie.





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Halloween II (1981)
Slasher, Horror, Suspense

Directed by Rick Rosenthal

1981 Universal Pictures After surviving a brutal attack on Halloween, traumatized baby sitter Laurie is rushed to the hospital, but the killer is still after her.

He came back to finish what they’ll never forget.

Rated R





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Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)
TV Movie, Slasher, Horror, Suspense

Directed by Frank De Felitta

1981 Wizan Productions

Made for TV (CBS)

A man wrongfully-killed, takes revenge on those who murdered him from beyond the grave.

The original classic

Not Rated. (Safe for TV in 1981)





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Friday the 13th (1980)
Slasher, Horror, Supernatural, Thriller.

Directed by Sean S. Cunningham

Georgetown Productions

Paramount

Camp counselors are systematically murdered by an unknown assailant while trying to reopen the summer camp where, years before, one of the children drown. One of the forerunners in the slasher genre.

A 24-hour nightmare of terror.

Rated R





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Opera (1987)
Horror, Thriller, Mystery, Italian Horror

Directed by Dario Argento

ADC Films Cecchi Gori Cinematografica RAI Italiana

Orion Pictures (US)

A young opera star is stalked by a deranged fan who kills the people around her so he can have her to himself.

The last note is a real killer.

Rated R





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The Hitcher (1986)
Horror, Thriller, Slasher

Directed by Robert Harmon

HBO Pictures

TriStar Pictures

A young man who escapes a murderous hitch-hiker, is tormented and stalked by the hitcher and framed for his crimes.

He came from hell. Don’t ask him where he wants to go.

Rated R





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A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Slasher, Horror, Supernatural, Thriller.

Directed by Wes Craven

HBO Pictures

TriStar Pictures

Teenagers are hunted by a sadistic child killer in their dreams. What happens in the nightmare, happens in the real world, and as they try to unravel the mystery, they must also stay awake.

1,2, Freddy’s coming for you!

Rated R

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I doubt this would be a surprise to anyone. Here are some more of the famous scenes. The bedroom ceiling. The bathtub claw. Freddy's claw scraping against metal.

Johnny Depp's first role as an actor was in A Nightmare on Elm Street./font>




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